Sunderland Seconds’ top three produced wins to give their side an unlikely victory over Benwell Hill.
The hosts were without Matt Agar, Phil Goodfellow, Ben Robinson and Howard McCain, calling up Martin Baxter and Alisdair Campbell from the Thirds to play fourth and fifth string.
But, it was the top half of the team who cam up with the decisive performances to see Sunderland edge out a tight game at West Lawn.
The evening started well for Benwell, as Ian Allen proved to strong for Campbell. Campbell took the first game, and attacked the front with his usual accuracy, but was undone by Allen’s crunching drives from the back.
This was followed by the nights first five-set marathon. Ashbrooke skipper Eric Anderson may not have been at his best but showed all of his battling qualities and determination to fight back from a 2-1 defecit and grind down Charlie Ponete 3-2.
The Mackems’ number one, Kevin Dryden, then put in his best performance of the season so far to see off Phil White. Dryden’s movement impressed and with his racket skills also up to their usual high standards he was able to get past the stubborn White.
The win was then sealed as Colin Sidney took the second five set marathon of the night, beating Bob Aynsley 15-14 in the final set. That final point shootout turned out to be crucial.
Karen Herron then added a consolation win for Benwell as she beat Baxter 3-1, coming back from 1-0 down.
Overall a 3-2 win for Sunderland and a 16-10 points split. Next up for the Wearsiders is a trip to Washington on Thursday, November 16. Benwell Hill welcome Primrose on Tuesday November 14.